Rock stars and their real names

4 February 2024, 17:00

Chaim Witz, Vince Furnier and Davey Jones. Or is it Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper and David Bowie? Picture: Everett Collection Inc/Pictorial Press Ltd/Collection Christophel/Alamy Stock Photo

Will you please welcome to the stage... William Rose! Doesn't have the same ring does it? Let's take a look at some of the pseudonyms.

  1. Axl Rose’s real name is William Rose

    William may not cut it for a rock and roll hell-raising singer. Let Bill become Axl.

    Axl Rose of Guns N'Roses. Not generally known as "Bill" to his friends. Picture: Alamy
  2. The Edge’s real name is Dave Evans

    You're one of the most acclaimed guitarists of the past 40 years. You can't call yourself Dave Evans, why not transform yourself into The Edge?

    Dave Evans aka The Edge during U2's late 80s prime. Picture: Alamy
  3. Slash’s real name is Saul Hudson

    Saul's a pretty cool name, but you need something more rock and roll, why not Slash?

    Slash - or Saul to his friends. Picture: AP Photo/CP Christopher Pike/Alamy
  4. Bez’s real name is Mark Berry

    "Mark Berry" doesn't really sum up the mystery that is Bez.

    Bez does his thing for Happy Mondays. Picture: Alamy
  5. Freddie Mercury’s real name is Farrokh Bulsara

    A famous one - this young singer from Zanzibar took on the name of the fleet-footed messenger of the gods.

    Freddie Mercury aka Farrokh Bulsara. Picture: Alamy
  6. Gene Simmons’ real name is Chaim Witz

    First: change your name to something more "rock". Next: cover your face in make-up and lo, you are Gene Simmons!

    Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS. Picture: Alamy
  7. Nikki Sixx’s real name is Frank Feranna Jr

    Frank isn’t a very glam rock name. If you’re playing bass in Mötley Crüe, you need something more “it”.

    Bassist Nikki Sixx, lead singer Vince Neil, lead guitarist Mick Mars and drummer Tommy Lee of the American hard rock band Motley Crue, 1984. Picture: Ross Marino/Getty Images
  8. Mani’s real name is Gary Mounfield

    This Mancunian musician adapted a nickname as his stage persona.

    The Stone Roses in 1989: Reni, John Squire, Ian Brown and Mani. Picture: Alamy
  9. Joe Strummer’s real name was John Mellor

    The leader of this legendary punk band needed a more heroic moniker, so he switched.

    Joe Strummer of The Clash. Picture: Alamy
  10. Flea’s real name is Michael Balzary

    Balzary wasn’t funky enough for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, so it was a time for a change.

    Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers in March 2012. Picture: Alamy
  11. Bono’s real name is Paul Hewson

    This singer took his stage persona from the name of a hearing aid shop to become Bono Vox.

    Paul Hewson rocking the Bono mullet in 1984. Picture: Alamy
  12. Iggy Pop’s real name is James Osterberg Jr

    This legendary frontman took the name of his first band The Iguanas to reinvent himself.

    Iggy Pop in 1977 - no longer known as "Jim" (except to his friends). Picture: Alamy
  13. David Bowie’s real name is David Jones

    Mr Jones of Bromley, Kent became a wild-eyed alien, better known as Bowie.

    David Bowie in 1973. Picture: Alamy
  14. Alice Cooper’s real name is Vince Furnier

    The name Alice Cooper was originally applied to the band, but was later taken on by the frontman.

    Alice Cooper in action in the 1970s. Picture: Alamy
  15. Fatboy Slim's real name is Norman Cook... kinda

    Fatboy Slim's name is actually somewhat of a double mystery. The Praise You DJ was born Quentin Leo Cook and changed his name to Norman Quentin Cook.

    Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim DJing 2001. Picture: Alamy